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Budget like a Boss: A Smart CMO’s Guide to Budgeting for a Scale Journey
Episode 33rd February 2022 • The Get: Finding And Keeping The Best Marketing Leaders in B2B SaaS • Erica Seidel
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Kristin Hambelton, CMO scaleup queen now running marketing for MineralTree, takes us on a deep dive of budgeting for marketing during a scale journey. You’ll learn:

  • How do you communicate to a CEO and CFO that you are investing efficiently… without overspending
  • When do you give budget back versus ask for more
  • How to remind your peers of what marketing will and won’t do: “You won't get to scale saying yes to everything!” 
  • How your budget should change through expansions and acquisitions

From a hiring standpoint, we discuss:

  • The wisdom of Swiss Army knife hiring - when 1 marketer manages multiple functions
  • How to do ‘lookalike’ training with your recruiter
  • The one person on a marketing team who should NOT be remote
  • The best question a CMO candidate could ask the recruiter: How do I rank on the scorecard for the job?
  • How to experiment with hiring, not just with programs, and the wisdom of having some experimental people on the team whose backgrounds may initially make you squint  

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Key Links

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Hiring great marketing leaders is not easy. The Get is a podcast designed to inspire smart decisions around recruiting and leadership in B2B SaaS marketing. 

We explore the trends, tribulations, and triumphs of today’s top marketing leaders in B2B SaaS.

This season’s theme is Solving for the Scale Journey.

The Get’s host is Erica Seidel, who runs The Connective Good, an executive search practice with a hyper-focus on recruiting CMOs and VPs of Marketing, especially in B2B SaaS. 

If you are looking to hire a CMO or VP of Marketing of the ‘make money’ variety - rather than the ‘make it pretty’ variety, contact Erica at erica@theconnectivegood.com. You can also follow Erica on LinkedIn, or sign up for her newsletter at TheConnectiveGood.com

The Get is produced by Evo Terra and Simpler Media Productions.

Transcripts

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Hi, you're listening to the, get the podcast about finding

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and keeping great marketing

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leaders in B2B SaaS.

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I'm Erica Seidel, your host.

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You know those people who so clearly revel in what they do and are so

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knowledgeable on both the big things and

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the little things?

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Today I

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talk with a CMO like that.

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Her name is

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Kristin Hambelton.

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She's the CMO of MineralTree, which is a SaaS company in the Accounts

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Payable & Payments automation space.

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Kristin spent the

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last several months steering marketing through an acquisition.

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She was previously CMO of Marketing Evolution and CMO of

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eVariant, which ended up selling to

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Healthgrades, and before that

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she

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was VP of Marketing for Neolane, which sold to Adobe.

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You'll hear hard-won advice

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for embarking on a scale journey.

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In particular, you'll hear about

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budgeting for marketing

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during growth.

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How do you communicate to a CEO and CFO that you were investing smartly,

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without overspending?

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How well

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are you connecting the marketing budget to the growth strategy?

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You'll hear about sharing with the rest of the company leaders what

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marketing is saying yes to and what marketing is saying no to.

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And when does it make sense to give budget back to the CFO

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versus advocate for more budget?

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You'll also learn about hiring for hypergrowth and what to do when you

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have multiple marketing functions but can't yet justify hiring one

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person for each function.

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Let's get

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right into this.

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Kristin, I am so glad to have you here.

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Would love to have you just share some advice for a CMO embarking on a scale

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journey.

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I know in

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this question we're tapping into

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some hard-won lessons

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from your own experience scaling marketing at many companies.

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Can you talk through that?

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Sure.

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So I think in terms of scaling, there's what you do at a private company

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versus what you do at a public company.

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But I think some of the same

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rules apply.

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I've spent,

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I would say, the better part of my career more on the private side, although,

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obviously, within large companies trying to scale divisions or verticals,

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et cetera.

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On the private side, one of the things in terms of embarking on the

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journey, I first would recommend to

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marketers to figure out

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the scale of the scale, if you will.

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Not all scale is created equal.

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As an example,

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going from zero to $10 million is very different from going to 10 million to,

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say, 30 million, and then even 30 to 50 million, and then 50 to a hundred million.

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And the reason that they're

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different is you're trying to

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figure things out.

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If we all had the answers the minute that we launched a company, or that

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founders started companies, there would be no process of scaling.

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So in the beginning,

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if you're really starting in your scale process, and usually that's when you're

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at an earlier part of growth, you're doing

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the basics.

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One of the

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most

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important things is just figuring

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out who you're targeting, what works.

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And you could get away with trying a lot of different things at this

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part in scale because you just don't

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know much yet.

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Sure, you're

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going to come with whatever experience you have or what people have tried

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already, but it's usually not that much.

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Compared to, say, 10 to 30 or 10 to 50 million, that scale

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is very different because

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you will have, at this

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point, figured out what your ideal audience is.

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You will have figured out what works and

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doesn't work.

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Now it's really

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about focus and refining all of those things.

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I would also say that you're adding other elements into the marketing mix.

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You might've been very demand focused early on or sales enablement

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focused, but now in this range, you have to be all things across

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marketing.

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Content plays

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a huge role at this point because your sales team is probably

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scaled at the same level.

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So content and thought leadership to give some of that air cover

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to the very focused demand

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generation that you're doing.

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Of course,

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it also means at this point that you are religious because

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you know what the message is.

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You know what your brand promises.

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You're being consistent and focused and you're getting

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into a groove and you feel it.

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You really, I feel it anyway.

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I know when we're firing on all cylinders.

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Then, at the next stage, 50 million and

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above, you're taking all

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of the things that you just did in the last phase

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and multiplying them.

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What's really

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important at this point, probably more so than even earlier on,

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is what you're not going to do.

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Because at this point, people expect you to do everything and try

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everything.

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I actually

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think that's a recipe for disaster.

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Even though people would think, okay, you have more budget, you probably

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have more people at this point.

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Right, but you can't split the baby more ways than you need to.

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You got to keep doing

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what you know works, and as I

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like to say, you have to adopt the superpower of saying no.

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And really socializing, I've really learned that lesson early on to socialize

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with my peers on the leadership team and usually a layer down of here are the

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things we're going to do, but by the way, here are the things we're not going to do.

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And I make sure it's in

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writing, in a deck, and I remind

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people of it.

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Sure, we need to be flexible and stuff changes, whether it's within the

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business or even macroeconomically, or a pandemic happens, or a

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tragedy like 9/11, so you

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have to

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flex.

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But all things

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being

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equal, you really have to remind people

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of what you're not going to do.

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That is the way you scale because you have to be not only effective, you

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have to be really efficient in what

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you're doing.

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Marketers

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know this better than anybody, right?

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We're asked to do a lot with not a lot often.

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So you're not going to get to scale if you are saying yes to everything and

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splitting your team and your resources and your time and your budget across too

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many things.

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You've already

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proven the things that work and don't work.

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One caveat, make sure you always keep some

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percentage of "we've got to try

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new things"

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in there.

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I know that

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sounds

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a little contradictory

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to focus, focus, focus.

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I'm more saying there's gotta be 10% or 15% or some amount of

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your team and your resources and something where, hey, there's this

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cool new thing called podcasts we

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need to try.

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A few years

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ago, right?

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You can't not because sometimes trying those things ahead of others will give

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you a unique and distinct advantage.

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Just be prepared to fail because you just don't know, which is why

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I recommend it can't really be more than about 10 or 15% on this

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experimentation.

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I love your

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point about educating about what you're not

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doing because somewhat of

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a marketing leader's role is about constantly, I call it

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the marketing of marketing, but

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constantly

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sharing with the

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organization what's going

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on, what you're doing, why you're doing it, what results you're

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having from those activities, but also, to your point, what you

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don't do.

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I'm curious your take on when you do,

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as you

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do scale, I imagine

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your budget

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gets bigger.

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And say you're actually choosing to planfully

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grow your budget.

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So how do you communicate out to a CEO and a CFO

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that you are investing

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without

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overspending?

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How do you think of the opposite side of it when your budget does grow and

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you want to be planful about that?

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The way I like to do it is I always like to start with total

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addressable market and look at where we are penetrated and what's still

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left to go.

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Then I tend

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to do a real swag on, a real estimate on, depending if it's a demand funnel

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versus account-based marketing.

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You know, how much we actually need to generate and look at what we

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think from a programs perspective is

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realistic.

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If you have

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a baseline or even an estimate and some industry benchmarks to

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start with, say you start with fifty or a hundred

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dollars at a cost per lead, I'm just totally swagging it.

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If you knew nothing else you could start to back into about from a program

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perspective you need.

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I do that

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also combined with my total addressable market in terms of the number of accounts.

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As an example, if you have a million accounts you can go after, you know

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only 10% of the market is penetrated, that means 90% you can go after

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from a demand funnel perspective.

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How many people do you need to touch to get to the number of deals

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you need to based on the revenue number that you're given to produce?

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Now, from an

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account-based perspective, those

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which you have maybe small total addressable market.

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I was in one market where we only had 300 total accounts that

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existed.

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One third were in the buying

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process at a time, and the sales

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cycle was eighteen months.

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So

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you only have

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a hundred accounts, really, you could go after.

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You need

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to look at touches across the buying group, how much you need to engage with

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them, how much the touches would cost you you think to engage with those people, to

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do the same exercise of how many times, realistically, do I need to touch that

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buying center across all of the contacts.

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And that comes up with the programs.

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Now, let's not forget about

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the people.

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This is really

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a little bit of the art

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of budgeting.

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In B2B marketing

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right now, benchmarks are about 50% program, 50% people.

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It actually airs a little more towards program, like 55, 45.

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And to be honest with you in

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the last twenty years, that

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really hasn't moved much.

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What I have found is in some years, even in the same role, you will find

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you don't even have enough people to spend the money you have, which seems

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really odd as a marketer, given we always complain about the budgets.

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But you can throw that money away if you want to, or what I've done in the past

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is I share that with my CFO and I said, sure, we have this money, I'm actually not

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going to spend it because I can't spend it on the things that we know work and

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experimentation.

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So I share that to say, I'm

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being mindful of what works and doesn't work.

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You need people to manage

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programs and to deliver content

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and if you don't have them.

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And the reason I actually share that with my CFO is so that I

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protect myself a little bit so I don't lose my budget the next year.

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This is actually great timing this year.

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Here we are 2021.

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I'm very fortunate, I had a fabulous year.

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My company just got acquired.

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All things are great.

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We're

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hiring.

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We have money.

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And we're

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in budgeting season and I'm very efficient and effective with my budget.

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I'm at a point where I know what works.

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My team is firing on all cylinders.

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What's really interesting is next year events are back, and we all

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know that events are the single most

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expensive cost-per-lead item.

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So I'm actually fighting for more budget than I

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normally would.

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In the past,

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I usually come to some happy medium, but I know everything is going to

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ramp significantly like we've never

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seen before with trade shows.

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So those are the combinations of things.

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Back to the people part, I'm also making the case of more shows,

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you need resources to manage

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those shows.

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Sometimes

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you have to make choices on people versus programs.

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Sometimes you have too many people and not enough

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dollars.

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That's where

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the art comes in.

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I usually find, pretty consistently, it is 55 program to 45

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people.

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It really doesn't vary much.

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I

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tend to be a little weird and I would trade dollars to get people

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versus programs because I know if you have really talented, committed

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people, you can do amazingly creative

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things without money.

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Not everybody

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feels that way.

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That's just what I have found consistently.

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But again, I'm sure people have different approaches.

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I just know that if you can get a fantastic marketer in who can do an

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amazing program, piece of content, whatever it is, it more than pays

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for itself in terms of some programs.

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Now, of course, there could be exceptions.

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You

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could be in a market where it's trade shows

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only, and that's just the way it is.

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And I get that.

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But to be honest with you, I've

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marketed to just about every

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industry and every functional group, and I've pretty much just

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found it that I err a little

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bit more on people, which, by

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the way, isn't always possible because there's often headcount restrictions.

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People think you're trying to build a kingdom, but as it is, marketers

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do usually three jobs a piece anyway.

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So again, that's just my personal choice.

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Sometimes, when it comes down to it, like in my budget for next year, I feel

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like I'm a little light on people and if I had to trade a little bit, I would

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trade a little more on the people's side

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right now.

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You remind

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me of this person I

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talked to who said, "Oh, I'm a CMO who thinks

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like a CFO."

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I forget if it was you, but

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if it was I like that.

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I'm just picturing you talking with

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your CFO.

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I guess people might wonder if you're going to give back budget or recommend

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that it go to sales or whatever.

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In one cycle, do you ever have a hard time asking for

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- what you're

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doing right now is asking for more budget for a valid reason for the next cycle.

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Does that ever shoot yourself in the foot to give money

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back?

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So, I've shot myself

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in the foot when I haven't been really crystal clear with my boss,

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which was usually

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the CEO

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and the CFO, why I'm doing

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what I'm doing.

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In the past,

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I've just been like, oh,

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I'm going to be a good doobie and I'm going to come in

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under budget.

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Then, everybody's

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happy you're under budget, and then you get

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less budget.

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It usually

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happens around Q3 where

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you figure this out.

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That's my experience.

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I usually don't find it before that.

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But usually around Q3,

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I'm like, ooh, I'm going to run under budget

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and if I don't end up hiring X, Y, and Z, I can't even spend the money.

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And I start giving hints that I'm going to come under budget.

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And it's not like they take some pot of money and they go give it

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to somebody else.

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What it does

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is it gives it the business breathing room and it allows the CFO to

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know that if they have to make a decision someplace else, they're

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going to have a little bit of room.

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So it's not like I'm like here's $200,000 or 300 - you have it.

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It's more, this is where I'm thinking I'm

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going to come in, and they're

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like, okay, that's helpful to know.

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And again, I

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explain it, essentially

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rationalizing and, I hate to say this, doing CYA so it doesn't

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come back to bite me next year.

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This also

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goes to a really

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good point about your CFO,

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which is, I just can't even imagine a better relationship that I need

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to have, in terms of trust, to be able to spend and manage the money

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and have their backs as much as

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they have mine.

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So, I

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have had the good fortune, but I've also made it a priority to

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engage as much as possible with the CFO and the finance team, to

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over-communicate, which takes time

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and effort

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in addition to all of the things you're trying to do.

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But it helps them do

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their job better.

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Then, god forbid,

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I ever make a mistake or get in a jam, I have found it usually pays for itself

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in terms of they get it, you're human.

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They know you're trying to do the right thing, every once in

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a while things get screwed up.

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But for the most part, they know that you're trying to manage the

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money effectively and efficiently.

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Can you talk about tying extra budget to growth strategy a little bit more?

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If a company

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is expanding,

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it might want

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to go into new markets or maybe you acquire a

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business and now you have

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five products and not one product.

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So how

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should a CMO think about

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expanding

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their budget

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in that kind of

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situation?

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Is it like, oh,

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we're buying a company that's going to double our size,

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so my budget should double?

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Or, I don't know if that's the right way to think about it.,

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Oh, I can dream, Erica, we can all dream.

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By the way,

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usually when you buy companies, even though there's different

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strategies for M&A, mergers and acquisitions, I don't think

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that they're mutually exclusive.

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Often you do an acquisition for

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growth, so it's what they

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call a growth acquisition.

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Or you do one for efficiencies.

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Now, what's interesting is I always find, even with the growth ones, they

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want efficiencies.

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You could say you're buying

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revenue, but they're always

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looking for

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efficiencies.

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In

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terms of what is critically important, and

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even at this point in my career I'm still learning.

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I am doing a

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better job now with

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what I would call the triumvirate of my partners, which is sales

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and product and marketing.

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I was always joined at the hip with my

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sales leader.

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With my product

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leader, I've always joked that I'm not smart enough to market

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a product I don't understand, so I've always been close to product.

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But I've done a much better job more

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recently with my triumvirate.

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The

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three of us would decide where we're going to tie budget because last year

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we actually acquired two companies

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and it was two new platforms

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we had to adopt.

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And unless I know in the product roadmap, as an example, where they are

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planning on parity or not,

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that's going to warrant a discussion on do I need another product marketing manager?

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Do I need new collateral?

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Are we going to put it under

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one brand?

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Ugh, naming!

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Don't forget

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naming.

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What's that going to?

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Also with sales then, does sales need

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to change how they're organized?

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Do they need to

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change their go-to-market?

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So it's very much not a conversation

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I can do in isolation.

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I don't think it's one I can even do

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with just sales.

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It's one where

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the three of you need to sit down and say, okay, this is what we have.

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I very

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much see it as this is what

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we have to work with in terms of assets.

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This is the products we have.

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This is what the roadmap

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looks like.

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This is what

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the selling team looks like.

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This is what the marketing team looks like and where we are in our

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maturity.

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Then, it's

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okay, here's the target - I'm making this up - for next year that we need to get to.

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How are we going to get there

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from a go-to-market?

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Are we going

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to expand our verticals?

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There's only a handful of ways you can grow, right?

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You grow through acquisition, as we mentioned.

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You go to new vertical

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markets.

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You go to new buyers within the same vertical.

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Somehow, if you have a different offering

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that you can, if you're

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selling to finance, then maybe you can sell to HR.

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I'm making that up, but that's possible

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in human capital

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management.

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Actually, when I was at Kronos, we were the time clock people.

Speaker:

Then all of a sudden we expanded to do more HR.

Speaker:

Or you can expand

Speaker:

geographies.

Speaker:

So you

Speaker:

have to pick.

Speaker:

You can't - by the way, a lot of times it

Speaker:

starts off, we're going

Speaker:

to do all of

Speaker:

those things.

Speaker:

I'm usually one that says, that's great,

Speaker:

but let's talk about if you had to pick and choose, what would be the priority?

Speaker:

Often those conversations are one of sizing

Speaker:

and timing.

Speaker:

We want to

Speaker:

do all those things.

Speaker:

Let's the three of us talk about it.

Speaker:

Which one can we go

Speaker:

the fastest at, which

Speaker:

one do we think we have the most success, and which one helps us get us

Speaker:

to our goals both fast, but also in a

Speaker:

doable way?

Speaker:

Not to be

Speaker:

forgotten right now, as we run into other times, depending on

Speaker:

what the economy is doing, if it's right now, a strategy that requires

Speaker:

hiring fifty people really

Speaker:

fast, good luck

Speaker:

with that.

Speaker:

You just can't

Speaker:

hire people right now, just because of the unemployment rate and people's

Speaker:

availability and the competition.

Speaker:

So that's

Speaker:

why it's important

Speaker:

to have those three groups, the three leaders, together and say, what is

Speaker:

the go-to-market strategy?

Speaker:

Then, from

Speaker:

there I

Speaker:

can decide, given that,

Speaker:

where do I put the

Speaker:

budget?

Speaker:

Now, that was a long-winded conversation,

Speaker:

but

Speaker:

I'm going through

Speaker:

it right now.

Speaker:

I'm living and breathing it, so, I thought it was

Speaker:

- just to say it's still

Speaker:

something I'm

Speaker:

learning.

Speaker:

You know, old dogs can

Speaker:

still learn

Speaker:

new tricks.

Speaker:

You brought

Speaker:

up hiring, Kristin.

Speaker:

Would love to hear your take on hiring during hypergrowth.

Speaker:

Like you said, everybody's struggling with it on the recruiting side.

Speaker:

I'm

Speaker:

struggling with it.

Speaker:

It used

Speaker:

to be that if I wrote to a

Speaker:

hundred people, eighty would get back to me right away.

Speaker:

I'm sure it's the same thing across the board.

Speaker:

So how do you think of covering multiple functions with fewer people

Speaker:

where one person might do double duty?

Speaker:

Can you talk through that and your take on hiring during hypergrowth

Speaker:

and how to make the best use out of a

Speaker:

smaller team?

Speaker:

I have found in B2B marketing

Speaker:

in general, and I don't know if this is true in other functions because

Speaker:

I've lived and breathed

Speaker:

marketing my whole career, but it feels like we have a hundred different

Speaker:

disparate jobs that we need to do that

Speaker:

probably require fifty different skillsets.

Speaker:

That's why I love what I do, by the way, because I

Speaker:

don't like doing the same thing.

Speaker:

I get bored.

Speaker:

So it's a good thing.

Speaker:

But

Speaker:

it's also, if maybe

Speaker:

you're a small startup

Speaker:

and you're 5, 10 million

Speaker:

in revenue, you're not going to

Speaker:

have a team more than 10, 20 people, depending

Speaker:

on your

Speaker:

investment model.

Speaker:

You're going

Speaker:

to have a

Speaker:

handful of people.

Speaker:

You

Speaker:

have to think,

Speaker:

just off the

Speaker:

top of my head, in no

Speaker:

particular order.

Speaker:

Somebody

Speaker:

has got to build sales collateral.

Speaker:

Somebody has got to do a website.

Speaker:

Somebody has got to do email campaigns.

Speaker:

Oh, somebody has got to do

Speaker:

trade shows.

Speaker:

Really quickly,

Speaker:

all of a sudden,

Speaker:

you're at twenty different

Speaker:

tasks and those skillsets just naturally

Speaker:

don't come in together

Speaker:

because people usually specialize when they're starting off in

Speaker:

their career.

Speaker:

What I try

Speaker:

to do when I

Speaker:

go into an existing organization

Speaker:

is I try to see what's there and try to blend roles that might fit together.

Speaker:

Even if the person's not doing additional functions, try to add

Speaker:

them, see if that's an area for growth that they're interested in.

Speaker:

Because if you try to make them unnatural, then what will happen

Speaker:

is when you try to hire for the other roles, it just won't work.

Speaker:

So I really try to think about what's

Speaker:

natural.

Speaker:

I'll give

Speaker:

you an example.

Speaker:

I often have to have some flavor of partner marketing.

Speaker:

Earlier on in

Speaker:

maturity in companies,

Speaker:

I don't always have the luxury of having a partner

Speaker:

marketing person.

Speaker:

And different

Speaker:

than channel.

Speaker:

So they may be referral

Speaker:

partners, but they're not hardcore

Speaker:

channel where it's, obviously then that's like the first

Speaker:

person you hired if

Speaker:

you're all through

Speaker:

channel.

Speaker:

I'm talking maybe they

Speaker:

refer 15, 20% of your revenue, you need someone to support them.

Speaker:

I

Speaker:

have found, though, I can't give

Speaker:

a whole head count to it because think about it, the other 80% of

Speaker:

my business is direct, and I've got to support

Speaker:

a team of salespeople.

Speaker:

What I have found is that because product marketing knows

Speaker:

the product really well, and I

Speaker:

think happen to be Swiss

Speaker:

Army Knives of the organization, I tend

Speaker:

to marry that

Speaker:

into a product marketing role in the short term until

Speaker:

I can get coverage.

Speaker:

They could

Speaker:

talk the talk, they can walk the walk, they know what the partners need.

Speaker:

If there's

Speaker:

some kind of co-marketing execution things, it can be punted off to a demand

Speaker:

person or someone else doing execution.

Speaker:

But there's somebody at least there that's managing the partner if we need to.

Speaker:

I also find that with

Speaker:

content.

Speaker:

If you can't

Speaker:

dedicate a

Speaker:

content person, which is criminal,

Speaker:

but if you can't, sometimes you can marry it into a PR role.

Speaker:

I have it now,

Speaker:

actually.

Speaker:

I just happened

Speaker:

to have an

Speaker:

outstanding person, he manages

Speaker:

partner contents and product marketing.

Speaker:

Obviously, he has people under him, but a lot of it is about the content.

Speaker:

So he's managing overall content strategy for the different audiences

Speaker:

that those serve with kind of one view.

Speaker:

So that's how I try to get creative, but at some point, you get to a breaking

Speaker:

point where this is not

Speaker:

tenable anymore.

Speaker:

But you can prove that through growth.

Speaker:

If the partners are growing, obviously you need somebody who can manage that.

Speaker:

The other way around things, of course, people can use contractors,

Speaker:

agencies,

Speaker:

vendors, whatever.

Speaker:

You know which marketers use on a regular basis anyway.

Speaker:

You could certainly do that, either as a stop gap or as your overall strategy.

Speaker:

Some people just like to outsource certain things.

Speaker:

I tend to outsource my PR, but I make sure that either myself or somebody

Speaker:

else manages it.

Speaker:

That's just

Speaker:

a particular thing that I like to do that's a preference and it does save

Speaker:

on head count, precious head count.

Speaker:

And usually there's some flexibility based on the PR agency or person that you use

Speaker:

where you can flex on budget, if needed.

Speaker:

In terms of hiring, I'm in the boat with everybody else.

Speaker:

In terms of secret sauce and attracting people, we try to go hard on our

Speaker:

networks because we do know that people who are referred usually have a

Speaker:

better track record.

Speaker:

We also

Speaker:

make it a priority meeting with our

Speaker:

recruiter and/or HR person,

Speaker:

depending on who's doing the

Speaker:

recruiting.

Speaker:

We're meeting

Speaker:

2, 3, 4, 5 times a week

Speaker:

with them.

Speaker:

We're also giving them like profiles, which is incredibly valuable.

Speaker:

In recruiting

Speaker:

sometimes they call them

Speaker:

calibration resumes, which

Speaker:

are here are the exact three resumes of people that would be perfect for

Speaker:

our job.

Speaker:

Share it with

Speaker:

your HR, your recruiter, and tell

Speaker:

them why.

Speaker:

By the way,

Speaker:

those three people may not be available.

Speaker:

Often I'll do it as LinkedIn

Speaker:

profiles.

Speaker:

I'll just

Speaker:

go in and look people up and I'll say, oh, this person's

Speaker:

perfect because they have this

Speaker:

and this.

Speaker:

What that does is it just allows

Speaker:

us to go a little

Speaker:

more focused on the search and

Speaker:

hope that we find like people.

Speaker:

But like everybody else we're

Speaker:

struggling with the same

Speaker:

thing.

Speaker:

We do hope that we do it through our team and through our network

Speaker:

and attracting people with

Speaker:

our overall value proposition

Speaker:

as a company, in terms of high growth and benefits and team and all that good stuff.

Speaker:

But again, we're in it with everybody else.

Speaker:

I love your idea of giving the recruiters the

Speaker:

calibration profiles.

Speaker:

It makes

Speaker:

me remember this one conversation

Speaker:

I had with, it shall

Speaker:

remain nameless, but a large company that was hiring their first marketing

Speaker:

technology VP.

Speaker:

They tried

Speaker:

on their own, and then they

Speaker:

came to me.

Speaker:

The HR person

Speaker:

was like, yeah, I've been working on this for a while, but actually I have

Speaker:

no clue what a MarTech person is.

Speaker:

So she had been actually wasting time because

Speaker:

she hadn't - I think she

Speaker:

felt like, oh, I should know this,

Speaker:

I didn't want to ask

Speaker:

the stupid questions.

Speaker:

I ended up saying no, I'm not

Speaker:

going to

Speaker:

do this, or I didn't

Speaker:

have time or whatever.

Speaker:

But I said, well, why don't you just

Speaker:

sit down - it's the

Speaker:

same thing that you do.

Speaker:

Sit down, very granularly look at your calibration

Speaker:

profiles so that you

Speaker:

can

Speaker:

do your lookalike modeling, from there.

Speaker:

Well, it helps

Speaker:

because

Speaker:

we can't expect recruiters,

Speaker:

as good as you are, Erica, to know everything that's in our head about what

Speaker:

we want and need and, in this market, what we might be able to overlook.

Speaker:

And I'm not saying

Speaker:

compromise.

Speaker:

I'll give you

Speaker:

an example.

Speaker:

We are hiring a marketing specialist right now.

Speaker:

Every other role, I think, on our website right now is remote because

Speaker:

you can work from anywhere, except our marketing specialist role.

Speaker:

And it's very

Speaker:

conscious.

Speaker:

The reason

Speaker:

that we can't overlook

Speaker:

that is, that is the

Speaker:

person that's going to be managing all our trade show assets and shipping that stuff

Speaker:

out and doing logistics, and it matters

Speaker:

because you can't have

Speaker:

all your trade show assets all over the country.

Speaker:

So it seems like such a simple little thing, but having managed

Speaker:

that remotely on multiple occasions and knowing the challenge of that.

Speaker:

Now, doesn't mean this person needs to be in

Speaker:

the office.

Speaker:

But,

Speaker:

having it remote, even just knowing what you have in inventory.

Speaker:

You know us marketers, we don't even

Speaker:

know what we have in the

Speaker:

marketing closet.

Speaker:

That's the

Speaker:

joke, the big joke, the marketing

Speaker:

closet, right?

Speaker:

I actually

Speaker:

have a habit of taking

Speaker:

pictures of everything so that if

Speaker:

you are remote, you can at least make decisions.

Speaker:

But again, it's a tiny little thing, and if we run into a jam and need

Speaker:

be, and we need to do a storage unit near them, and that's the

Speaker:

approach that we take, that's what

Speaker:

we'll do.

Speaker:

To your point,

Speaker:

it's just helping your recruiter, or whoever it is that's doing your

Speaker:

hiring, so they're as smart as possible.

Speaker:

Also, it's up to the team.

Speaker:

We put a lot

Speaker:

of pressure on ourselves, on our team because it's the person we're going

Speaker:

to work with every day, and I would not trivialize or minimize that.

Speaker:

Your team should be reaching out every single day to try to find somebody.

Speaker:

That's an expectation of mine, but I haven't seen anybody on my teams not do

Speaker:

it because it behooves them to do it.

Speaker:

But you can't just mail it in and think it's all going to

Speaker:

happen through the recruiter.

Speaker:

Hey, you see a cool brand,

Speaker:

or you see another company doing a really

Speaker:

cool thing, you know what?

Speaker:

Let us know, go check them out.

Speaker:

Maybe they do have some marketing people that could be

Speaker:

a fit for us.

Speaker:

That makes

Speaker:

me think of one company that gives people, like, Starbucks gift cards with the

Speaker:

idea that, and this is pre-pandemic, but everybody

Speaker:

gets a Starbucks gift card so they can take potential new employees out

Speaker:

for coffee.

Speaker:

And when you

Speaker:

have depleted your card, you just go in and you say, oh, I need another card,

Speaker:

and you get another

Speaker:

one

Speaker:

for $20, $50, whatever.

Speaker:

This idea

Speaker:

that everybody should

Speaker:

always be

Speaker:

in

Speaker:

that mode.

Speaker:

If talent is your most important thing, your calendar should reflect it, you know?

Speaker:

That's just

Speaker:

the thing.

Speaker:

I very much

Speaker:

believe in looking at things differently.

Speaker:

I think that's also why I'm in marketing.

Speaker:

There's not just one

Speaker:

playbook.

Speaker:

So if you

Speaker:

can, let's say it

Speaker:

again, my 10-15% rule.

Speaker:

Let me try something different.

Speaker:

Let's look at a completely different profile, and maybe that's what we need.

Speaker:

I love that idea of taking that same idea of

Speaker:

20% of your

Speaker:

budget is spent on wild and crazy things that might or might not work,

Speaker:

but think about that in terms of a team.

Speaker:

If

Speaker:

you hire ten people, one or two

Speaker:

can be really like the squint profiles, I like to say, where you

Speaker:

turn your

Speaker:

head to the side.

Speaker:

Maybe it works great.

Speaker:

Maybe it doesn't,

Speaker:

but you know it's somebody

Speaker:

really

Speaker:

different.

Speaker:

One of the things too, I need to

Speaker:

do the plug here for the interns.

Speaker:

I tend to, and I've done this for

Speaker:

the past fifteen years, I

Speaker:

tend to hire interns that are sophomores or juniors in college, and then we

Speaker:

ask them to stay through the summer.

Speaker:

So they'll work full-time over

Speaker:

the summer, then we ask for about fifteen hours a week

Speaker:

during the school year.

Speaker:

We're totally flexible on their hours and their days.

Speaker:

I even move my staff meeting based on their schedule.

Speaker:

Once they get their schedule each semester, we'll move

Speaker:

it so we can accommodate it.

Speaker:

We always tell them, you know you need to study for exams, take the week off.

Speaker:

Spring break, whatever.

Speaker:

But by keeping them, you get this continuity and then you have

Speaker:

these rockstar people that are completely trained and ready to go

Speaker:

right out of school.

Speaker:

So that's

Speaker:

another thing

Speaker:

with hiring.

Speaker:

There's hiring right out of school, and then there's hiring right out

Speaker:

of school somebody who's just spent

Speaker:

the last eighteen months with

Speaker:

you.

Speaker:

Very funny story.

Speaker:

My head of demand generation right now who works for me, was

Speaker:

my intern ten years ago.

Speaker:

Oh yeah,

Speaker:

I love that.

Speaker:

It's like, yeah,

Speaker:

we have this talent pipeline problem, so

Speaker:

fix it by training up

Speaker:

people now, being the

Speaker:

trainer, and

Speaker:

then the person that catches them

Speaker:

as they come out of

Speaker:

school.

Speaker:

They do

Speaker:

also

Speaker:

self-select.

Speaker:

If they really

Speaker:

love it, they stay.

Speaker:

Some of them sometimes will say, no, I want to go try another company.

Speaker:

But the idea of having an intern for one semester I

Speaker:

think is personal.

Speaker:

It's training somebody

Speaker:

up for three months or even six months, and then they're gone

Speaker:

versus if we can hang on to them and they want to stay with us.

Speaker:

We tend to

Speaker:

invest a lot in them and

Speaker:

it usually pays

Speaker:

off.

Speaker:

Final question for you, Kristin, do you

Speaker:

have a favorite interview question that you ask that you find really revealing?

Speaker:

I don't know if it's revealing, and I feel bad when I ask it, by

Speaker:

the way, but I ask it for

Speaker:

clarity of

Speaker:

thought.

Speaker:

I ask them

Speaker:

if you were me,

Speaker:

why should I hire you?

Speaker:

So

Speaker:

at the end of the

Speaker:

interview, they're through it, they're like,

Speaker:

okay, we're just about done, and then you hit them with that one.

Speaker:

But I think it, to me, it is not as much what they say, but can they

Speaker:

articulate very succinctly

Speaker:

in about what I'll call three bullet points what their

Speaker:

differentiators are?

Speaker:

The reason

Speaker:

I ask it is also, it shows me if they've got the

Speaker:

marketing gene.

Speaker:

Because a marketing person

Speaker:

will think about that question in terms of their value

Speaker:

proposition and what makes them

Speaker:

different.

Speaker:

So if they

Speaker:

can communicate it in that way, I know that they live and breathe marketing.

Speaker:

It's not as much actually what they say, the three or four or five things.

Speaker:

But if they're all over the map and

Speaker:

they say twenty-seven things, or

Speaker:

if they don't distinguish as differentiators or strengths, or

Speaker:

if the things they say are things

Speaker:

that are very copyable

Speaker:

or

Speaker:

not benefits-driven, it

Speaker:

just helps me distinguish that in

Speaker:

one answer.

Speaker:

Again, I feel bad

Speaker:

asking, but it's not a Pass/Fail question

Speaker:

because I also know if I've just had a wonderful interview with them

Speaker:

and for some reason that question, maybe they struggle a little bit.

Speaker:

Also, you

Speaker:

just don't know what kind of day somebody had.

Speaker:

You don't know if they're distracted, you don't

Speaker:

know.

Speaker:

So it's not a Pass/Fail thing,

Speaker:

but it is something as part of the interview that I think is

Speaker:

an important question to ask and

Speaker:

have them answer.

Speaker:

That's

Speaker:

a really interesting one because I feel like so many marketers are really

Speaker:

crappy at marketing themselves, even

Speaker:

plenty of CMOs, myself.

Speaker:

I was gonna say, myself included!

Speaker:

Hahaha, right?

Speaker:

And maybe that's

Speaker:

- talk about

Speaker:

interview questions.

Speaker:

I just think one of the hardest questions is "Tell me about

Speaker:

yourself."

Speaker:

Especially

Speaker:

people earlier in their

Speaker:

careers.

Speaker:

I know I even

Speaker:

struggle

Speaker:

with it.

Speaker:

One interview, actually

Speaker:

in the last few years even, it wasn't that

Speaker:

long ago.

Speaker:

I started

Speaker:

off with the professional summary.

Speaker:

They're like, "No, tell me about where were you born!"

Speaker:

I was like, okay...

Speaker:

So I think that one's hard when you don't have a rapport, you don't know

Speaker:

somebody.

Speaker:

If I do ask

Speaker:

that question, I'm more specific and I qualify with, "Tell me about yourself.

Speaker:

Are you from the area?

Speaker:

What do you want to do

Speaker:

professionally?"

Speaker:

I try to lead

Speaker:

it a

Speaker:

little bit.

Speaker:

And I'm

Speaker:

terrible at that question too, but I have learned that it is important to

Speaker:

have your value proposition cold as a CMO and why you're better than others.

Speaker:

That's really your

Speaker:

goal.

Speaker:

And if I'm not asked

Speaker:

a

Speaker:

question like that, I make sure

Speaker:

that at the end of a meeting, an interview, that I take a moment

Speaker:

and I summarize and I convey that proactively because that's the last thing

Speaker:

they hear.

Speaker:

One of the

Speaker:

best

Speaker:

questions CMOs have asked

Speaker:

me in

Speaker:

interviews is hey, looking at

Speaker:

your scorecard, because there's always a scorecard, where do you see me

Speaker:

being strong and what questions

Speaker:

do you think would come up?

Speaker:

Or where do you see me being on the

Speaker:

weaker side?

Speaker:

It's great

Speaker:

because then I can play back to them what I've heard and then it's an opportunity

Speaker:

for them to correct any misperceptions that have come up during the

Speaker:

previous hour or whatever

Speaker:

it is.

Speaker:

Yeah,

Speaker:

it's very interesting.

Speaker:

Well, thank

Speaker:

you.

Speaker:

This has been great to chat with you about all aspects of scale.

Speaker:

And I love it, every

Speaker:

time I talk with you

Speaker:

there's always all

Speaker:

these little tactical

Speaker:

things as well that come up that are really so revealing of the

Speaker:

fact that you've done this for a long time in all these different

Speaker:

settings and you really love

Speaker:

marketing.

Speaker:

I always learned

Speaker:

from talking

Speaker:

with you, big things, small things, so it's great..

Speaker:

So thank you very much, Kristin.

Speaker:

Likewise, Erica.

Speaker:

Thank you, it's been a pleasure.

Speaker:

That was

Speaker:

Kristin Hambelton, who

Speaker:

has steered marketing

Speaker:

at several SaaS companies

Speaker:

through growth and acquisitions, sharing some

Speaker:

of her hard-won learnings

Speaker:

for how to solve for scale.

Speaker:

Next time on The Get, I'll

Speaker:

speak with SaaS marketing expert Guy Weismantel.

Speaker:

We'll talk

Speaker:

about how to get to alignment with the Board on the role of

Speaker:

marketing and when to go fast versus when to go slow when scaling.

Speaker:

Don't miss it.

Speaker:

Thanks for listening to The Get.

Speaker:

I'm your

Speaker:

host, Erica Seidel.

Speaker:

Hiring great

Speaker:

marketing leaders is not easy.

Speaker:

The Get is designed to inspire smart decisions around recruiting and

Speaker:

leadership in B2B SaaS marketing.

Speaker:

We explore the trends, tribulations, and triumphs of today's top marketing

Speaker:

leaders in B2B SaaS.

Speaker:

This season's

Speaker:

theme is Solving for the Scale Journey.

Speaker:

If you liked this episode, please share it.

Speaker:

For other insights on recruiting great marketing leaders, what I

Speaker:

call the 'make money' marketing leaders rather than the 'make it

Speaker:

pretty' ones, follow me on LinkedIn.

Speaker:

You can also sign up for my

Speaker:

newsletter at TheConnectiveGood.com.

Speaker:

The Get is produced by Evo Terra and Simpler Media Productions.

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